April 6, 2012
Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Asin, Mithun Chakraborty, Jacqueline Fernandez, Zarine Khan, Boman Irani, Johnny Lever, Malaika Arora Khan, Shazahn Padamsee
I can deal with Salman Khan urinating on a haystack in Anees Bazmee’s Ready. I can even take the farting ape of Bazmee’s No Problem. I can forgive the now predictable scenario that unfolds at the end of pretty much every Priyadarshan comedy, with the film’s entire cast congregating at one place and chasing each other in circles. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is an excuse for The Great Bollywood Rape Joke.It was the last straw for me in Housefull 2. It came in a scene in which Sunny (Akshay Kumar) visits his father in the film. Dad is played by Ranjeet, villain of yesteryears. In an allusion to the numerous rape scenes the actor has shot through his career, the name plate behind him reads, “Dr Ranjeet V. Asna K. Pujari”. Get it? Vasna ke pujari? Devotee of lust? Yawn. That’s supposed to be his name. And below that comes the word “therapist”, except that the letter “e” has got partially unhinged from the board, so that it reads, “the rapist”.
When will Bollywood stop treating rape as a source of amusement? Sickening!It can’t possibly get lower than this, I thought. But I was wrong. Towards the end of the film, when Sunny visits Dad again to introduce him to his bahu (Asin), the old man does not realise that the pretty girl before him is his daughter-in-law. So he leers and approaches her while gradually unbuttoning his clothes and lasciviously chanting the word, “beauty … beauty … beauty,” with every step he takes. Stop! Dad, she’s your bahu, says the son. Creepy Dad halts in his tracks, starts buttoning up again and retraces his steps, while still ogling her and now chanting, “Beti … beti … beti …”
Ugh! Yikes! Ewwww!How Asin – Bollywood newcomer but star of southern Indian cinema – could have subjected herself to such a scene is beyond me. So I’ll say it again: I have no problem with the crocodile in Housefull 2 biting the bottom of Jolly (Riteish Deshmukh). I can close my eyes to the scene in which a python clings to the penis of Jai (Shreyas Talpade). I can even survive all those shots of lecherous Sunny’s tongue marginally lolling out. But I draw the line at rape!
Let me be very clear about this: I actually do enjoy the occasional mindless comedy and I realise that slapstick humour is often politically incorrect by nature. Despite its rampant sexism, I still laughed through No Entry. In spite of its overt homophobia and crudeness, Kya Kool Hai Hum cracked me up. Welcome was silly but hilarious. The Golmaal series maybe juvenile but I actually had fun with Golmaal 2&3. Though most critics in this country ripped Housefull to bits, I didn’t mind it too much. And what the heck, I found DesiBoyz and parts of F.A.L.T.U. funny. But there is a difference between being cheeky and being distasteful, between being politically incorrect and downright insensitive. And I suspect even diehard devotees of brainlessness would agree with me that when a film maker repeats his own successful formula, it can get boring.And so, if in Housefull Sajid Khan gave us two men trying to deceive one father and one brother in collusion with two pretty women, he takes the “2” in Housefull 2 rather literally, giving us four men trying to deceive four fathers in collusion with four pretty women whose primary job is to look smashing in skimpy outfits. If in Housefull we were given the song Papa jag jaayega, here in Housefull 2 we get Papa toh band bajaye and Right now. Most of the dialogues involve rhyming words such as Sunny saying, “Langurs, have my angoors.” No you dirty people, it’s not what you are thinking, he’s actually offering grapes – the fruit – to guests!
The formulaic repetitiveness of the plot and dialogues are quite tragic because on a good day, Akshay, Asin, Riteish and Shreyas can be killer comics, and it was nice to see how John had evolved from being Akshay’s sidekick in Garam Masala to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Akki in Desi Boyz. Besides, there’s some serious … uh … erm … chemistry between Akshay and John here. And the déjà vu notwithstanding, the songs are catchy, visually attractive and well choreographed. Despite everything I’ve said before this, I’ll concede too that there are some genuinely entertaining scenes here and there in the film (especially the ones involving Rishi Kapoor and a wisecrack offered by Johnny Lever about a man, his pregnant mother, his gullible father and their driver). But these scenes are few and far between, there are too many intermittent slow patches and there’s too much that’s a reminder of Housefull in Housefull 2.
But congratulations all the same, Sajid Khan! In Aakhree Pasta (Chunkey Pandey) you have managed to create one of the most irritating characters I’ve seen in a Bollywood comedy. As for you, Shreyas Talpade, having seen you in Nagesh Kukunoor’s splendidly sensitive Iqbal and witnessed your comic abilities in Om Shanti Om, it hurts to watch you in this film!Rating (out of five): **
CBFC Rating: U/A
Let Me Tell You One Thing, The way you're portraying or I should say insulting the film is totally pathetic, no-one is saying you to watch these films first of all. You people shall never realise the amount of hard work that the whole crew and cast put to make a piece of art. I found you really rude reviewing like a queen of Bollywood cinema and saying what is good or bad with popcorns and a sofa....If you can't tolerate don't watch...Bloody Disgusting to read this article though. I can'p't Deal with this Article Now. By the way I dont know who you are just read the name first time but I have seen many people with that kind of dirty attitude....Get a life..don't behave as a moron and critize so badly...Have you ever even made a documentary? HOw easily people get right to become critics like that? GOD Save the Industry.....................ReplyDelete
Umm, she reviews films. Ergo, she talks about what she feels about the film. She has made a career doing that. It's kind of part of her job. And unlike your rambling, incoherent and barely senile response, she gives pretty clear cut reasons for her displeasure. GOD, the level of stupid in your comment is breathtaking!Delete
Err...Anonymous, are you by any chance Sajid Khan himself ;) ..... amused!!Delete
Hey Anonymous, or are you actually Sajid Khan writing? It’s interesting that you don’t know who Anna is but you still make the effort to go to her blog, read her review and add to that even comment!! That’s what makes me suspect that you probably are Sajid Khan!! What qualifies you to comment, do you know anything about her work? How does a judge in a court of law give out a verdict? Is it because he has committed a murder/fraud/been involved in a scam or domestic dispute? No, he/she has analysed and evaluated the evidence at hand studied the case and the facts and then made a judgement-he/she however has to give a verdict within the constraints of the law, it is not his opinion! Similarly I’m sure (considering the experience she has – do look at her profile – SINCE YOU DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS) having read her blog and followed her work, she has enough knowledge about films and film-making to be able to express an opinion. Which is what a critic does, express an opinion. What is Sajid Khan’s claim to fame anyway? That he’s related to some Bollywood stalwarts? Even Wikipedia doesn’t have much to say about him except that he’s a failed TV presenter! And he started out his career criticising and making fun of the same fraternity that he has now become a part of. So, instead of criticising Anna for what she has written and exhausting all your energies on that dear Sajid, I would suggest that you put in more hard work and make quality films…..comedy doesn’t mean crassness and I don’t have to be a film maker to say that!! :PDelete
You're right, God SAVE the INDUSTRY from Directors like Sajid Khan!!!
2 stars out of 5? that sounds excessive! ;)ReplyDelete
i am refraining from anything beyond this line as a comment & you do hv hellava lot of patience to dare & bare such content..thanks for saving us...as patrons of ur blog we luckily escaped this seemingly crass production.ReplyDelete
tks a lot Anna! was planning to watch it this weekend. will not bother now ! Rape can never be a source of humour, its a pity these film makers do not understand this.ReplyDelete
Just dropped my idea after reading the reviw to watch #Housefull-2, Now planning to watch Wrath Of The Titans 3D :) Thanks alot Nice Review.ReplyDelete
Hindi cinema is still about regular masala movies. Though some daring filmmakers are making good movies but director like Sajid Khan still believes in shot cut formula to make money out of this commercial art form.ReplyDelete
why 2 stars then? dont be bashful - give it 0, it seems to deserve.ReplyDelete
Dear San Didi and "Anonymous",ReplyDelete
I've seen worse. Far far worse :(
Take a look at this link if you don't believe me.
ha ha - I see, have to agree (:Delete
Anna, loved your review.ReplyDelete
Reading the review, I could visualize you, sitting down in front of a laptop as soon as you came out of the multiplex and angrily punching out this review muttering "i need to tell the world about Housefull2, I need to ..err..I need to save humanity from extinction.."
On a side note: Housefull2 will make its money for Sajid Khan & Co. from the bottom of the pyramid.
it shd be saving humaity from rapists and tasteless directors:)Delete
I just read this review & I could not agree more! I saw the movie today & I honestly cannot believe that this much of nonsense could be in a movie. It was offensive, racist & so inappropriate. I wonder if Sajid Khan even saw the final product or he just has so much money that he decides to put it in making movies like this rubbish.ReplyDelete
Brilliant review. I suffered through the movie, had to watch it (its a job I have to do so that I can earn a few by giving my opinion on them), but your review made for a delightful and very meaningful read.ReplyDelete
When will you understand that in this form of cinema (brainless comedy) anything and everything is fair game. The sole intent is to entertain and evoke laughter by any means necessary. Filmmakers are not obligated to be socially responsible or politically correct nor should they be obligated to such things. Did the sequences you are condemning draw laughter from the majority of the audience in the hall? If they did then who is to say your condemnation outweighs the rest of the audience's enjoyment? If these sequences are drawing laughter there is no reason they should not be part of the film. While it is well within your right to condemn such scenes, it is well within a filmmaker's rights to have such scenes in his/her film to evoke laughter.ReplyDelete
When will you realise that it’s the height of insensitivity to say “anything and everything is fair game”? In a civilized society, entertainment value is certainly not the sole determining factor for what’s acceptable in a film. A cursory glance at history and sociology texts will tell you that acts of cruelty always draw audiences – cheering crowds at public hangings are a good example. So going by your argument, why stop at jokes on rape, then? How about the actual act of rape? No doubt there are people in this world who find rape videos highly enjoyable. I wonder if it’s your contention that feature film makers should be allowed to show actual rapes in their films (not actors acting, but men who have been paid to actually rape women) if a sufficiently large section of the audience reacts positively to such scenes.
I wonder too if your insensitivity extends only to jokes about crimes against adult women. Or do you think jokes about paedophilia are equally acceptable if found entertaining by sufficiently large sections of the audience?
“Filmmakers are not obligated to be socially responsible or politically correct”, you say. Really? I’d request you to get your facts right (and yes, this is a matter of fact, not opinion). Because if this were so, then I’d be curious to know your opinion on why India has a Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and why the USA – a far more liberal society in many ways in this respect – has The Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA). You may personally believe that “filmmakers (should not be) obligated to be socially responsible or politically correct”, but to say that they “are not obligated” shows a strange ignorance about the existence of film regulatory authorities.
And the comparisons you are making is the height of being unreasonable. The parallels you draw are too extreme to even compare (except the pedophilia one, but in this genre of film even that is fair game, and note this genre of film). There is zero parallel between a film of this genre and rape videos or real rape or other such extreme scenarios you mentioned. And my understanding is these rating agencies you mention at least in the US exist to regulate films in terms of what age group can watch that content. You are the journalist, I will leave it to you to throw facts in my face regarding any R-rated film which was required to edit content because it was socially irresponsible or politically incorrect (this does not include excessive violence or nudity/sexual content). Personally I do not recall such an incident, but I guess you'll have a film or two to throw back at me. In any case I hope you are more reasonable in the parallels you draw in the response to this if you do choose to respond.ReplyDelete
Instead of admitting that you made a factual error with your statement that “filmmakers are not obligated to be socially responsible or politically correct”, now you want to know the exact role played by CARA ratings? I’m afraid I have no intention of doing your homework for you.
As for my response to your comments about rape jokes, clearly I’m not being that “unreasonable”, since it turns out that you do believe “paedophilia … is fair game”. Even the most insensitive people I personally know, draw the line at paedophilia. What can I say to someone who thinks jokes about child sexual abuse would be acceptable in a film of this genre? I guess I’ll just say that I’m glad I don’t know you.
The feeling is mutual given your condiscending tone. I would, however, like to clarify that I do not promote jokes on paedophelia nor would I find them funny, but the point I am trying to make is that films of this genre aren't meant to be taken seriously enough to be outraged at such things. Last time I checked there were films in the US that made light of paedophelia via Michael Jackson jokes. Granted Michael jackson was the butt of those jokes but I do not recall their being any moral policing by this agency for making light of such serious accusations. I have not researched the prior statement, just going by what I recall off the top of my head. I'm just the average guy who likes to watch movies so I have no desire to do research or homework for an informal argument online. If this was a formal and organized debate I can see you being uptight about these things. If you feel a sense of victory in me admitting I made a factual error because I got carried away in what I was trying to say then you got it, you win. I had an instant reaction to your review therefore I posted my comments, had I known thorough research and precise phrasing are required to share my reaction I would have exercised better self control and kept my comments to myself.Delete
Had you put up a disclaimer to the effect of "All responses must be thoroughly researched and perfectly articulated. Any comment not meeting the aforementioned criteria will be subject to condiscending responses" this whole argument would have been avoided
Dear “Anonymous” / Varun,Delete
You are right in assessing my tone. But my condescension is a response to what I perceived as your own condescension ... “when will you understand”, etc. Besides, rape is such a heinous crime that I see red when anyone seems to discuss it casually.
One of the things I’ve learnt from being on Twitter though is that there are some people out there who believe they have an absolute right to be condescending / sarcastic, often even rude, to journalists, politicians and others, but are taken aback when they receive a response in a similar tone. Likewise, they demand a great sense of responsibility from journalists etc on public platforms, while themselves demanding the right to be factually incorrect, logically inconsistent and so on in these spaces. And the attitude seems to be that you can critique my comments, but I am not allowed to critique your critique without being dismissed as “uptight”.
I do not understand the point you are trying to make about child sexual abuse since you had earlier clearly written that “pedophilia … is fair game” for jokes in this film genre; but now you say you “do not promote jokes on paedophilia” nor would you “find them funny”. If the former is the case, then I find you highly insensitive. If the latter is the case, then I believe you are displaying double standards by defending the right of a film maker to treat the sexual abuse of adult women lightly while balking at a similar attitude towards the sexual abuse of children!
I mentioned CARA along with the CBFC only to point out that, contrary to your claim, many societies across the world do deem it necessary for film makers to be socially responsible. I am not equating CARA with CBFC nor is there space here to go into a discussion on the merits and demerits of both systems. But if the US (or the West in general) is your standard in these matters, then: (a) as you yourself have pointed out, the jokes on Michael Jackson that you have cited were directed at MJ, not at paedophilia; and (b) please read this article on jezebel.com about the reaction to an advertisement’s attempt to treat rape lightly - http://tinyurl.com/c73zjs3
There is an inexplicable fundamentalism that has entered the debate on freedom of expression in our country in recent years. Anyone who protests is clubbed with those who indulge in violence while protesting. I do believe I have a right to express an opinion against a distasteful joke in a film without being clubbed with the “moral police”.
Saying something is fair game and finding that thing funny and/or promoting it are two different things. For example I am not fond of the NRI stereotype in Hindi films but it is still fair game. You are therefore accurate in your perception that I am highly insensitive if this is your criteria for being highly insensitive. In regards to your statement about demanding a greater sense of responsibility from politicians but not hold themselves to the same standards, I see no problem with that unless the journalist or politician is on a public platform in a personal capacity and not in a professional capacity. A great sense of responsibility should be demanded from these professions. I am an accountant who happens to like movies so there is no consequence if I post something irresponsible. Sure it may irritate you to read it, but being on a public platform irritating comments are a dime a dozen for you. The "when will you realize" is me seeing red when films of this genre are taken so seriously just as you see red when rape is discussed casually. I perceive it as an indirect way of saying the audience isn't smart enough to distinguish that this is only a joke and in actuality it is a serious crime. That article you sent me made my blood boil because the outrage to me is like saying "how dare you treat rape lightly, the general population lacks sense so they may actually start taking actual rape lightly". I would like to believe the average person can distinguish between a joke and the seriousness of a crime. In any case I will try my best not to respond further should you choose to respond because I am getting the feeling you have had about had it with this discussion.Delete
I want very much to respond to your comment, but I can’t figure out what you mean by this maze of words. More to the point, if you believe that it is your right to post “irresponsible” comments on public platforms, then why am I taking the trouble to give respect to a person who does not respect his own views?Delete
Oh god, I wish I had read your review before going for this. Watched two comedies in two weeks, Housefull 2, which is supposed to be a comedy, and Vicky Donor, which i thought would be a bit serious with all the sperm donation & social messages. I couldn't have been more wrong. This movie is at the height of absurdity! And read all these conversation with the Anonymous. Totally behind your back!ReplyDelete
Now whose fault is it that you postponed reading my review, Naveen? :) And before I forget, thanks for the support!Delete